Don’t Talk Like That

As Told By Amoafoa

What if when I shut my eyes

In submission to the place of rest

I never suffice?

When you mourn

Will it be you performing at your best

Or proof that you’re really torn?

“Don’t Talk Like That”

What if someday after I have found a lover

Who plays guitar and eats quiche

I walk in on him with another?

When I blink

Will the evidence of them vanish?

Or linger on in my memory in indelible ink?

Don’t Talk Like That

What happens if one day when I own fleets and suites

I make very wrong decisions

And go from Wall Street to Queer Street?

Will I still have your respect

Still feature in your conversations

Or just suffer your neglect?

Don’t Talk Like That

Every time I sit with my “ifs” to contemplate

Your voice rises above the din

Chanting the anthem I’ve grown to hate:

“Don’t Talk…

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Let Janelle’s Booty Do That Yoga

I used to be one of those people who would decide not to do something just because everyone else did, and assume that because everyone else did, it was not nice. A number of things have changed my mind about this.

For instance, High School Musical is mainstream. This might not be the best example because, though it was popular, a lot of people didn’t like it because of various (*cough* invalid *cough*) reasons. But whatever. I liked HSM because it was fun, because I was a kid, because I loved musicals (still do). And its popularity did not sway me from liking it.

And Harry Potter is popular. But it’s fantastic. Twilight is popular, and I like it too…but not for the same reason that everybody else does. But the explanation for this is long, so I shall save it for another day. But, you see, you cannot honestly say that you will forever refuse to get into something for the sole reason that a lot of other people like it.

I mean, in my opinion, a lot of things that people like are foolish to me. Particularly mainstream music. I really don’t know how to understand why people like music that does not even have the capacity to enrich their lives. You see, if I were to talk about this, I would go on for a rather long time.

Anyway. If we don’t already know how much I love Janelle Monae, I think there is a problem. I lover her outfits, her lyrics, her style…Janelle is bae, to put it simply. Have you ever known an artiste who never wears anything but black, white and red? I love Janelle’s constant preaching on behalf of the unorthodox. She has shown continuously that there is another way to do things – make music, dress in public, whatever. And her decision to create an artistic society of like-minded people, Wondaland – beautiful. This android thing that she has had going on…who would be mad enough to do that? To create an entire alternate world – a Metropolis – with androids and Cindi Mayweather and Sir Greendown and Joey Vice and whatnot, and base her whole career on this fantasy.

(Side note: I started, but never finished reading Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder”, which is an adaptation of Cinderella in a world of cyborgs and androids, with Cinder, the cyborg as the main character. It fits so well. I wonder if Janelle has ever read it.)\

Also, Janelle’s hair is swag.


Now, after having established that I am a hardcore Janelle fan…sigh. After Tightrope and locked Inside and Electric Lady and Q.U.E.E.N., it would understandably be very disappointing, at least at first, when you watch Yoga. Yoga is probably the closest thing to mainstream Janelle has ever done. The song is as catchy as any Rihanna or Nicki Minaj song…but somehow, it’s still classier.

Aha, so this is where the things I’ve been talking about earlier come into play. This is where I start fighting. See me contradicting myself here? I am one who slams the mainstream left, right and centre, and here I am, making an exception just for Monae, because I like her, right? If I weren’t me, I’d look like that to myself as well, actually. I’d be looking like one of those hypocritical Justin Beiber fans who tolerate him spitting on his fans just because they believe (LOL) that everything he does is a holy action. The brainwashed population.

yoga cover

Alright, then. Forgive my apparent double standards. (And this is partially addressed at myself.) I’ve been conflicted in my mind for a while, so I guess I felt the need to rationalize it out in words. Because the fact of the matter is, though Yoga left me shocked at its…mainstream-ness, I could not deny that I liked the song from the moment I heard/watched it. (I did not hear the song before I watched the video.) And when I thought through the reason I would even have been inclined to dislike it even after I liked it, and concluded that it is because of its mainstream-ness, that is when I came to the conclusion that I have stated in the earlier paragraphs: you can’t just say you don’t like something just because it’s popular.

I watched a Janelle interview that was conducted prior to the Yoga release, with her new signed artist addition to Wondaland, the Nigerian Jidenna. (He’s cool. And he featured on Yoga.) Now, in this interview, Janelle had already stated that she was going to shock her fans. Well, at that time, nobody knew how much. And she also said, and I agreed, that dynamism is also a key part of the art. You legitimately could not just remain one-way throughout your entire career. Of course people would get bored of you, right? And I watched another interview where she said something controversial that I was able to immediately identify with nevertheless. You know how Janelle nearly always wears a tuxedo when she performs? Well, she said that if she came onto the scene and everybody was wearing tuxedos, she’d probably have been half-naked. And truly, I would have probably done something similar. (That doesn’t mean that it’s morally right…I’m an ethical relativist sometimes.)


But I cannot truly see Janelle’s “Yoga” as an encouragement of the over-sexualisation of females in the media – especially not from a person who tweets “Sit down. I’m not for male consumption” at a misguided male, and especially not with a song that has lyrics like, “You cannot police me so get off my areola!”

You Cannot Police Me, So
You Cannot Police Me, So

Again, to quote her in defence, “Sometimes I’m peachy, and sometimes I’m vulgar.” And actually, aren’t we all?

I think the song is about teaching girls that it’s okay to just have fun and to like your body like it is. It’s a nearly-shallow song, but actually…not quite.

So yes. This is me not breaking into lamentations about a Miley Cyrus-like transition. Of course, if that were to happen (God forbid), I won’t be deceiving myself about what I’m witnessing.


Real-Time Rant

I wrote this today, sometime after physics. I can’t remember exactly when because the whole day has just been a bad-to-worse-to-worst muddle of sadness and hopelessness. I almost decided not to post it. But then I decided, damnit, life is too short anyway. Let me be disagreeable in peace.


I am not giving myself time to think it over, otherwise I’ll never write about this. Consider it real-time, filled with all the irrational fire of emotion that comes with failing an exam.

I am in a bad state. I am in a very bad state. Within seconds of receiving my physics paper, I was on the floor. How did I get there? I don’t know. Within seconds of getting Physics Paper 2, the tears were streaming down my face like a freaking tap. Why? Because I feel like life’s greatest failure. Not felt. Feel. I’m writing in real-time, remember? Oh, logical? I know it’s not logical. Eh, she got into SOS, eh, she didn’t get a U. Eh, she has a blog. Eh, she can write.

Here’s the thing, okay? Here’s the thing. When one begins to feel like life’s greatest failure, one tends not to care about the things that should make them not feel like life’s greatest failure. Does that make sense? No? I don’t care.

It’s very hard to care about what makes sense and what doesn’t when you see your whole future flashing before your eyes in an instant, and something as silly as an exam grade is making you question your own intelligence. Why does it have the power? Why does it have the power to do that? Why do a bunch of fractional numbers on a paper have the power to determine our futures, to measure our mental capacities? Human beings, you silly creatures, after all this time, you mean to tell me this was the best you could come up with, to evaluate each other? Measly things called grades. What stupidity.

Yes, I am insulting humans like I am not inclusive. Shush. I am a demigod. Daughter of Athena. I no dey mong.

What is painful…what is painful is the idea of waste. I do not like waste. Dear God, I can barely stand to see food being thrown away. But to waste the intangible – money, time, energy…that is never fine by me. Never fine. Especially when I do it to myself, and for whatever’s worse, see no results! That is the worst insult of all. Me? I like learning. I hate studying. To consider that I got up to freaking study, to read, to practice questions, to watch videos, to do research, to worry how many classmates (who had to probably force themselves not to give up on me) to teach me until I understood – then to go in and write a paper and bloody fail!

It’s an insult to all that I and my mother Athena believe in. Of course I couldn’t really be mad if I’d done nothing towards preparation and then gone in to face the fire. That one dier, I’m an idiot. But to know – to know flat-out that I studies till I slept, that I worried and I worked, all to fail. How on earth would you ever expect me to come to any conclusion other than that I’m just a stupid girl whose brain does not know how to even comprehend natural phenomena? Isn’t that what physics is? Natural phenomena.

It isn’t one subject. It’s all of them. (Plus TOK.) I am hopeless, and I am bloody tired of everything. I am tired of school, of examinations, of grades, of the world’s bloody “systems” of doing things. I’m tired of being in an academic situation that is wrong for me, and I’m bloody tired of failing! I’m tired of the world’s standards and un-altering “systems” which never fail to try to dictate how an individual must proceed through their lives in the middle class.

Yes, the middle class are the most trapped. Too rich not to have an excuse to pursue “privileges” of the system, too poor to be powerful enough to run around them. You middle class persons, you are not worth anything unless you can go to nursery, go to primary school, go to high school, freaking excel at academics while being engaged in a billion activities so you can put it on your college application; you MUST go to a great college and get a first degree, and preferably also a masters, PhD, a second, third, fourth and fifth degree, top your class, find a job and make money for your spouse and kids, then die, regardless of whether you were happy or not. OMG. It makes me want to die!

I’m acting out. Yes, I’m acting out, but at least I’m doing it with the furious movement of my pen on my notebook, and not screaming curse-words in the middle of my school campus, or smoking weed. Be grateful that I’m acting like a teenager with a harmless outlet. Be. Freaking. Grateful.

It bothers me that those who wish to will have a whole plethora of things on which to blame my results. Oh, you hang out with friends too much; oh, you read too much; oh, you write too much; oh, you tweet too much; oh, it’s because you speak too much poetry; oh it’s because your best friend is male, and you both have hormones; oh, it’s because you wear too many wrist-bands; oh, it’s because your hair is too long. Who knows what else they can come up with?

The unfortunate part of it all is that my version of a good life and excellence…is not academic. In my opinion, this is not unfortunate for me; it’s unfortunate for everyone who is archaic enough to believe that I should believe that my academic performance is my highest priority, especially at my age.

What a world we live in! For the sake of humanity and mortals, I will end my senseless rant here, and go and cry somewhere else.


Another F

And again, we are faced with the letter, unwritten, but obviously not imaginary. We are
Being told repeatedly that we are not as good as we think we are, and the
Cause is not apparent. We put the blame on ourselves, because we fear we are
Doing something wrong, because things just happen to repeatedly go awry
Even when we try. and repeatedly, it breaks our hearts, when, time and time again, we are faced with another

And I’m being told that a letter is not a measure of my intelligence,
But if that’s the case, why do I lack
Common sense? It is virtually impossible to believe
Despite non-alphabetical achievements. It’s a dangerous thought that my methods are not
Effective, but I might break down if I am faced with another
F. But the battle is not over.

A Bird can Change its Destination Even in Flight.


These Four Walls

These four walls
do not converge physically.
The problem is mental,
And the convergence
is entirely a product of my imagination.
I see them stationary,
But I feel them moving,
Closing in on me and my sanity,
Crushing my spirit in the process.

The problem may be
that the walls are only four,
and I need more.
I need more options, directions,
To face up to myself,
My reflection in the reflective glass
Directions enough to make the polygon look circular
I want to see myself as all-rounded.

These four walls
make me forget there’s a door,
that there are no walls enclosing the globe,
that the globe is not enclosing my mind,
that I don’t have to see mirrors everywhere I go.

These walls make me delusional.
They’re full of beings;
They people the enclosed space –
And for some strange reason,
I am not one of them.
The beings make me feel
less than a being.
I am being
Suppressed by comparison.
And yet, the beings within the walls
Are not all.

Four years, four walls.
They seem to get stronger
But one day, they’ll fall.
One day, in the near future,
I’ll be free from it all.
These four walls have to let me go.
I want to leave now,
But circumstances say no.
Unfortunately, I use the walls’ materials
To build my own complex,
Though I still see my artistry
as crazily inferior.

These four walls
get mad at me
But that’s okay;
I don’t like them either.
Either way,
One day, I’ll be released
And realise that really, I’m not the least.


Power to the People! (#Ehalakasa)

I was planning to write this earlier, but circumstances are difficult, and I guess Ekko got to it first. But this is not a review. This is me blogging because I like blogging about cool things. Ehalakasa is a cool thing.

I like music and poetry, and Ehalakasa has that. Honestly, to this day, I wonder where I was all those years…If I had known earlier that such a strong community of people who believe in the arts existed, I think I’d have been a lot happier. Well, at least I know now.


So, the first Ehalakasa concert of 2015 happened on 26th April, featuring, primarily 100% and Poetra Asantewa, who are already two of my faves. I asked 100% to marry me after the first time I heard him perform in 2014, and he didn’t mind me. He even went to get married to someone who wasn’t me, can you imagine? As for Poetra, I’ve been stalking her saa, her blog her Youtube videos, Soundcloud, whatever. I admire her for being strong and feminine and strongly feminine, and saying things that nobody else dares to. My favourite poem of hers, I think, is “Poetry ain’t sh*t”. It said a lot of things I was thinking. The whole piece resonated with me.

And so it was pretty cool when she, Dzyadzorm and Mss Ndabi invited me and two of my friends to open for their show last year, and even cooler when she and 100% contacted me to open for the Ehalakasa concert this year.

I’m such a tiny being.

I had a lot of fun at the event, right down to the outfit. I borrowed a shirt from my friend Debbie because I’d left my own white, long-sleeved shirt at home, and I borrowed Simeon’s tie. The first thing 100% said to me when he saw me was that I looked very Janelle Monae. Now, though I am a hardcore Janelle fan, looking like her was actually not my intention. I’ve been wearing black-white-grey for over a year now. I’m a self-declared monochrome dresser, and I made the wardrobe decision before I became well-enough acquainted with Janelle to know that she only wears black, white and red. But the tie decision was just because earlier in the day, Simeon had been wearing it, with a long-sleeved white shirt, and it looked good, so I stole the tie (and the look).

Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2011
Janelle, my love.
Me in stolen clothes

The other opening acts were Crossroad Essence from California – and they were really fun to listen to…some cool, hop-hop-percussion-spoken word things. I remember the girl, Jazz’s piece about femininity, and her dressing matched her imagery, I must say. The last was Philippa Yaa de Villiers. She’s an Australian Ghanaian from South Africa, who delivered pieces that made me question my existence. I had stalked hr on Youtube three days before, and so I already knew that she was really good. She is a performer if there ever was one. Her body language is spectacular, and she knows how to get in and out of different characters. She can perform poetry like drama. I didn’t get to talk to her, because she left early for Writers PG.

Crossroad Essence
Crossroad Essence (Photo cred: Des Clarke)
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers (Photocred: Des Clarke)
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers (Photocred: Des Clarke)

Now, as for Poetra and 100% themselves, the main acts of the concert…they killed it right from the start. Chale, no exaggeration, they brought Power onto the stage. I mean, I was dead by the intro. You should have seen me jumping up and down in my seat. (Oh, leave me alone, I’m not even seventeen, la! Can’t I be immature small?) saying, “That’s so cool!”

There was a chorus chant:

“Power by the people for the people to the people

Power changing people, making all of us unequal

Power that’s in sequels, lifting everybody’s egos,

Power, power, power, power!”


And it was hypnotizing!

I will not lie: I thought that it was the best stagecraft I had ever witnessed. There was background music at some parts, and the timing was just on point. There was even some part where Poetra started rapping with the song “I’ve got the power!” playing in the background. But the best part was when the lights started going off, and then 100% and Poetra started doing some decrescendo/diminuendo things with their voices. And then nearly everything was dark. Get it? There was no power! (AKA Dumsor) Now you’d have almost believed that it was real dumsor…but the microphones were working perfectly! And then they were like, “Maybe if we start again, the power will come back,” and then they started the chant again, with a crescendo and the lights came back on, and I think this is where I started jumping up and down in my seat.

Now even though I was dead by the end of the intro, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the event.

Honestly, these people keep helping me expand the number of things I thought you could do with spoken word, never mind that I didn’t even know spoken word existed before 2013. LOL. Poetra has a beautiful singing voice, and an admirable ability to switch between singing and speaking. 100% could be a full-time rapper if he wanted. He has some audibility and eloquence that a lot of rappers don’t have, and I think I would like Ghanaian music a lot more if his kind were making it.

Oh, and I must comment on his outfit. It was 100% swag. His theme was red, and his red shirt had his name on it, which was really cool. And his pants were some awesome, baggy, African-print trousers. The outfit was topped off with a snapback. I’m teasing here but…not many people past 20 can pull off that afrocentric teenager look. Especially with a bald head. But he’s 100% swag so he can pull anything off.

100% on stage! Photocred: @Benawyn
100% on stage! Photocred: @Benawyn

Okay I’m done teasing my reject husband (yes, I intentionally phrased it that way). Bye!


It Is Not Poetry

If it were as easy as
Writing full sentences –
badly punctuated, inaccurately structured sentences –
and splitting them into
different lines before we reach a full stop;
If it were as easy as
Writing love poetry when you think you’re in love,
And losing respect for the craft
When the crush blows over;
If it were as easy as demanding acclaim
For words you won’t bother to check the spelling of;
If I could tap out lines
for five minutes straight on my phone
then press “post”;
If I could be comfortable with not knowing
the difference between “their” and “they’re”;
If I was proud of thinking “you”
is equivalent to the letter “u,”
If it were as easy as
Being content in my mediocrity
Or blissfully unaware of it altogether,
I, like you, would hold no respect for this thing that people insist on calling an art.

If it were enough,
to produce and not absorb,
If it were fine to read a book a year,
If it were acceptable to not care
about “poetry” till the day I produce it
and never again afterwards;
If I considered words a luxury –
one that I do not have time for –
If I thought it was tedious to stroke a spine with tenderness,
Finger each sheet from cover to cover,
Have mental intercourse with the message an author is putting across;
If I simply did not have time to measure metaphor, assimilate simile,
If I were to be a person who never recognizes literary devices;
If I  never had interest in the works of others,
I, like you, would hold no respect for this thing that people insist on calling an art.

And yet there must be a reason why
I write when I cry,
And why I recognize myself in the works of others.
There must be a reason why
I can cross out one line four times,
till I feel I have it perfect.
There must be a reason why it’s worth it.
There must be a reason why I revisit and memorize,
Why I can sit for hours on end,
trying to get fifteen lines right.
I’m sure you wonder why I ponder for so long
before I put words down,
Amazed when you see the number of cancellations on my manuscript,
Surprised when you find out I’ve had the time
to pick another’s poem to study when there’s no grade riding on it.
You wonder why
I get excited when I find a literary device I like.
If I were the kind of person who spent no time trying to perfect this craft,
If I were the type that thought anything could pass;
If I were the type that thought technicalities were trivialities,
Then I too would hold in high esteem what I would like to think deserves to be classified as this thing that people insist on calling an art.

If irony were as easy as
Writing full sentences
and separating them into lines;
If irony were as easy as
using the word itself twice,
just so you could understand my point;
If irony were as easy as
insulting your “poetry” with “poetry,”
I would be as mad as those who hold no respect for this thing that people insist on calling an art.